Croyle Recipient of Prestigious Hill Prize

By Nick Nobel
February 5, 2024
A woman smiling while wearing a blazer, collared shirt and necklace.
Dr. Maria Croyle.

Professor of Molecular Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery and Glaxo Wellcome Professor Maria A. Croyle, Ph.D. is a recipient of the prestigious and highly competitive Hill Prize. The prizes, funded by Lyda Hill Philanthropies, accelerate high-risk, high-reward research ideas with significant potential for real-world impact.

Hill Prizes celebrate top Texas innovators and researchers whose work could significantly impact science and society in five categories: Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology. Dr. Croyle and the other recipients will be recognized this evening at the opening reception of the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science & Technology (TAMEST) 2024 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas.

Her team’s proposal was chosen for the 2024 Hill Prize in Engineering for demonstrating innovative techniques that will allow vaccines and biological drugs to be transported without the need for temperature control, which could lead to the rapid global distribution of life-saving medicines. Using methods from virology, immunology and drug delivery, Dr. Croyle’s team developed a simple, resource-sparing system to preserve vaccines so they can be shipped worldwide without the need for ice or to be kept at a specific temperature.

Her team’s work has advanced to the point that a company, Jurata Thin Film, has been created to bring the technology to the marketplace. Dr. Croyle’s team will use prize funding to advance the product to full scale production, allowing for the innovation to move from the lab to the clinic and have a profound impact in the developing world. Jurata Thin Film was the first investment recipient of the UT Seed Fund and listed as a finalist in the 2023 SXSW Innovation Awards in Patient Safety.

Dr. Croyle’s winning proposal will receive $500,000 in funding from Lyda Hill Philanthropies to accelerate their work.